Reflections on Easter and God's Promises
We are quickly approaching my favorite time of the year when we celebrate the day our Lord Jesus came back from the dead. As a child, I always wondered why so many people attended church services specifically on this day and not consistently throughout the rest of the year. Growing up we always wore our new Easter dresses and other spring finery, rushing home to check out what the Easter bunny had left. Today I understand that Easter isn't about the Easter bunny, or about an annual church visit, but about Jesus's death and resurrection. This Easter season I have been concentrating more on the powerful implications of the resurrection and what it means for us who believe.
Consider John 14:2 when Jesus told his disciples prior to ascending to heaven, "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" Jesus has risen from death and is actively at work preparing a place for me in Heaven. How cool is that!? I am assured a place with Him forever provided I persevere in faith.
Or how about when Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:7) Although this seems like a challenge, it's also a promise. If I follow Jesus wholeheartedly and trust Him as the only to way God, I am guaranteed to see the Father. The resurrection of Jesus made a way for us all to conquer death and inherit life forever.
Jesus also tells his disciples in John 14:13-14, "whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." This is so crucial for us to understand in this Easter season. If we want to understand the resurrection power of Jesus or have increased faith in the resurrection account, we simply have to ask God for it. He has promised to answer.
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus tells his disciples, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age." Jesus was granted authority because death had no hold over Him. He promises that we too can walk in that same kind of authority.
Is this not what Easter is all about? Reminding us of the event that changed history? Reminding us to proclaim the good news of the resurrection? Reminding us that we have the power and authority of Christ? Reminding us to no longer fear death? Reminding us to persevere in faith until the very end? Reminding us that we have a guaranteed place with the father?
The Apostle Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 15 that the resurrection of Jesus is the crux of the entire Christian faith. Can you say with certainty, "I know He is risen." If not, have you asked God to make the resurrection more real to you? I challenge you to seek what God wants for you this Easter season. Is He asking you to become more involved in one of our Start Groups where we experience community centered on the resurrection? Are you feeling drawn to get water baptized to symbolize the death and resurrection of Christ? Maybe you are feeling called, like me, to study the beautiful promises of God and understand the resurrection more. However he leads you, may your journey give you the confidence to say, "I KNOW He is risen!"